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They roam the once-pristine shores of Chesapeake Bay, moaning for caaasshh.

Their stupid has gone viral.

And if they win, humanity loses.

I'm tracking Climate Zombies: every Republican candidate for House, Senate, and Governor who doubts, denies, or derides the science of climate change. Today, I visit Maryland, Virginia, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania, where I also stumble upon a ResistNet member running for Congress: Rick Hellberg in PA-02.

Who holds more extreme views, Christine O'Donnell or Pat Toomey? On the issue of climate change, O'Donnell has ducked the question but Toomey has given a classically stupid-went-viral answer:

My view is: I think the data is pretty clear. There has been an increase in the surface temperature of the planet over the course of the last 100 years or so. I think it’s clear that that has happened. The extent to which that has been caused by human activity I think is not as clear. I think that is still very much disputed and has been debated.

I tend to view today's political events through a "20 years from now" lens; in 20 years (or more), which will be more important, that a candidate with quirky views on sex was losing badly in polls, or that a candidate with flatly wrong views on climate science was tied in polls a week before an election?  Toomey's views on climate are at least as extreme as O'Donnell's, probably even more so. But they're not receiving as much attention: he hasn't had to announce that he's not a witch, he hasn't dressed up in a ladybug costume, he hasn't made any public statements about mice with human brains or masturbation.  There's no titillation factor, so there's no media attention.  

Maryland

Gubernatorial candidate Bob Ehrlich is skeptical of scientific evidence that emissions of carbon dioxide, methane and other gases from human activity are changing the Earth's climate. Eric Wargotz, running for Senate, has run to the right since giving up a climate-related county position: he's not only signed the Americans For Prosperity/Koch "no climate tax" pledge but questions Obama's birth; he's presumably infected.  Same for Roscoe Bartlett (MD-06), a research scientist who's expressed concern about peak oil and climate in the past but who signed the AFP/Koch pledge while facing a primary challenge this year.

Candidate Robert Broadus (MD-04) ridicules global warming based on one March snowfall. Candidate Charles Lollar (MD-05) isn't convinced climate change exists because there are different opinions on the subject.  Candidate Frank Mirabile (MD-07) believes that the seas aren't rising.  

Candidate Andy Harris (MD-01) has signed the AFP/Koch pledge.  I don't have information on the attitude toward climate science of candidates Marco Cardarelli (MD-02), Jim Wilhelm (MD-03), or Michael Philips (MD-08).

Semi-final score: four confirmed, three presumed climate zombies; three unknowns.

Pennsylvania

A bombshell (to me): while researching the attitude toward climate of candidate Rick Hellberg (PA-02), I found that he opposes "climate alarmism."  That's not news -- so do many climate zombies.  The news is that he's expressing his belief on ResistNet. Click at your own peril.

Incumbent Glenn Thompson (PA-05) equates climate science with science fiction.  Incumbent Bill Shuster (PA-09) won't take action on global warming because it's cold in Copenhagen, and fellow incumbent Charlie Dent (PA-15) believes the United States shouldn't have gone to Copenhagen at all because of "deceitful emails." I'm marking incumbent Joe Pitts as a probable denier based in part on his ambiguous statement "whether climate change is a man-made or natural phenomenon" and in part on his overall track record.

Candidate Tim Burns (PA-12) doesn't believe in manmade global warming; candidate Dee Adcock (PA-13) believes that climate has been changing over the course of history; and candidate Melissa Haluszczak (PA-14) believes that there's insufficient evidence of man-made climate change.  Candidates Mike Kelly (PA-03), tea party favorite Keith Rothfus (PA-04), Tom Marino (PA-10), Lou Barletta (PA-11), and Dave Argall (PA-17) have all signed the AFP/Koch pledge.  So has candidate Pat Meehan (PA-07), despite confessing to members of his own party that he's not really up on the details of climate change or cap and trade.  

Incumbent Jim Gerlach (PA-06) "believes we have a responsibility as legislators and citizens to reduce our imprint on the Earth and reverse the effects of science-based climate change for both current and future generations," although he didn't like cap and trade enough to vote for it.  I'm marking him as "it's complicated."  I'm also marking, reluctantly, incumbent Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-08) as a probable denier; he cosponsored Henry Waxman's Safe Climate Act in 2006 but has since moved to the right and signed the AFP/Koch pledge.

I don't have any information on the attitude toward climate science of gubernatorial candidate Tom Corbett or incumbents Tim Murphy (PA-18) and Todd Platts (PA-19).  The GOP isn't running a candidate in PA-01.  

Semi-final score: eight confirmed, eight presumed climate zombies; three unknowns; one "it's complicated."

Virginia

Incumbent Rob Wittman (VA-01) attributes climate change to heating and cooling cycles long before humans.  Incumbent Randy Forbes (VA-04) believes that evidence points in both directions.  Incumbent Robert Goodlatte (VA-06) likewise notes that climate has changed even before humans.

Candidate Scott Rigell (VA-02) flatly doesn't believe that climate change is caused by humans. Candidate Chuck Smith believes that changes in caring for the environment should be made based on "solid, provable science."  Candidate Robert Hurtt (VA-05) thinks that the so-called Climategate "is scientists who have given us something that is not true." Candidate Morgan Griffiths (VA-09) thinks that man-made global warming is a theory that many scientists don't believe is happening.  Candidate Keith Fimian (VA-11) isn't entirely convinced of the veracity of man-made global warming. All have signed the AFP/Koch pledge.

Eric Cantor (VA-07) has signed the AFP/Koch pledge.  Patrick Murray (VA-08) favors policies that lead to more pollution. I'm counting both as presumed climate zombies.  Frank Wolf (VA-10), in acknowledging human-caused climate change, struts his stuff as a climate peacock -- one who professes great concern for the climate, without actually voting for anything of substance.

Semi-final score: eight confirmed and two presumed climate zombies, one climate peacock.

Kentucky

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Ed Whitfield (KY-01) claims that scientists have been suppressing information about climate change.  Incumbents Brett Guthrie (KY-02), Geoff Davis (KY-04), and Hal Rogers (KY-05) haven't specifically denied climate science -- they've been too busy accusing the EPA of strangulation by regulation and trumpeting the virtues of clean coal -- but are presumed to be deniers.  So is candidate Andy Barr, who's signed the AFP/Koch pledge.  Candidate Todd Lally (KY-03) claims to have supported climate change action until "climategate," but now wonders whether there's global warming at all and, if so, whether it's natural or cyclical.

In the world of candidate for Senate Rand Paul, Al Gore should be investigated.  Thousands of armed Environmental Protection Agency agents would be free to burst into homes to check energy-efficiency standards.  It's okay to blow mountaintops to bits. However, scientists make up facts to support their conclusions.  He may win his Senate race against Jack Conway.  But at least he's not a witch.

Originally posted to RLMiller on Thu Oct 28, 2010 at 05:09 PM PDT.

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